Page Updated:- Tuesday, 24 November, 2020.


Earliest 1822

(Name from)

Valiant Sailor

Open 2020+

New Dover Road


Folkestone really.

01303 621737

Valiant Sailor Nov 2011

Photo kindly supplied by the "Valiant Sailor" Nov 2011.

Valiant Sailor Bar Nov 2011

Above photo showing the main bar Nov 2011.

Valiant Sailor Restaurant Nov 2011

Above showing the restaurant area Nov 2011.

Valiant Sailor Pool area Nov 2011

Above showing the pool area, Nov 2011.

Valiant Sailor 1978

Above photograph kindly supplied by Jan Pedersen, 1978.

Valiant Sailor Capel
Valiant Sailor

Above two photos by Paul Skelton 15 Sept 2007.

Valiant Sailor 1977 Valiant Sailor 1976 Valiant Sailor 1976

Above photographs kindly supplied by Jan Pedersen, 1977 showing the lorry crashed into the then front porch of the pub which was taken very shortly after the accident had happened.

Valiant Sailor

Picture above by kind permission Valiant Sailor. Circa 1880.

Horse drawn outing 1900

Above photo circa 1900.

Valiant Sailor

Above postcard, date unknown.


Originally called the "Jolly Sailor" this pub changed name in 1822.

The Valiant Sailor is actually listed as being Folkestone, yet it is so close to Capel-le-Ferne that I am going to list it as from that village. Misleadingly, it was addressed as Hawkinge, Folkestone in the Post Office Directory of 1913. Post Office Directory 1913

It is situated right at the top of Dover Hill, New Dover Road and Crete Road East.

Alfred Charles Aird had owned the Valiant Sailor public house and most of the land between Capel and Sugar Loaf Hill on which he farmed. He also owned and ran, with the aid of his wife, the Highcliffe Tea Gardens just behind the pub where they served home made scones and ice-cream and cream teas. The cliff path from East-Cliff was very popular with walkers from the Warren and the rival establishment, Little Switzerland at the foot of the cliff path.

Alfred Aird also owned a dairy farm at Martello and supplied Miss de la Mare (head of St. Margaret's School, Folkestone) in the early 1920s. His son Bill remembered riding on top of a hay wagon on the spot which is now the entrance to the Channel Tunnel.

Although the Highcliffe Tea Gardens are no longer there, they were once enclosed by a Hazel fence and contained three thatched summer houses along with the tables and chairs amongst a series of rustic arbours.



Richard Kitham married Eleanor Kingsmill on 2 August 1841 at Alkham:

Richard Kitham, bachelor, groom of this parish son of Thomas Kitham, labourer to Eleanor Kingsmill, spinster of this parish, daughter of John Kingsmill, farmer.

Wits: Susanna Finch, Marjery Kitham, Simon Horton Smith.


In the 1841 census of Church Alkham both Richard Kitham (25) and Elinor Kingsmill (25) were listed as servants at the Rectory for William Slater, Lay Impropriator aged 60.


In 1845 Richard with Eleanor and their young family moved to Folkestone Hill, Capel-le-Ferne. Richard was Licensed Victualler at the “Valiant Sailor”.

In 1871 Richard was still Victualler at the “Valiant Sailor” but was also a farmer of 40 acres.


An historic event that occurred in the summer of 1856 was the murder of 2 sisters Caroline and Maria Back by a soldier of the Swiss Foreign Legion, Dedea Redanies who was stationed at Dover.

Caroline was reported to have spurned the advances of the soldier.

Thomas Gurling reported the incident to Richard Kitham and Richard found the bodies at Steddy Hole behind the “Valiant Sailor.”

Dedea Redanies was hanged in Maidstone on New Years Day 1857.

The ballad of “Switzerland John” describes the whole sorry story.


Richard Kitham died in 1878 and was buried at Capel-le-Ferne. His wife Eleanor who died in 1892 was buried with him.


In Loving memory of RICHARD KITHAM died May 24 1878 aged 66 years. Also ELEANOR wife of the above died January 10 1892 aged 80 years. I know that my Redeemer liveth.


The widowed Eleanor continued to live in Folkestone and in both 1881 and 1891 census her unmarried son, Richard, an agricultural labourer/groom, and her unmarried sister-in-law, Ann Kitham were living with her.


From the Maidstone Journal and Kentish Advertiser, 23 December 1856.

The double murder near Folkestone.

Dedea Redaines, age 36, was then placed at the bar, charged with wilful murder of Maria Back, in the parish of Capel le Ferne, near Folkestone, on Sunday, 3rd of August last.

The prisoner, who was a tired in the prison dress, is the young man something under the average height. His complexion is fair, and he wears a somewhat bushy beard and moustache. His features a small, his nose reduced, and the expression of his face rather pleasing than otherwise.

Mr. Denman said Mr. Papillon appeared for the prosecution, and Mr. F. Barrow for the defence.

The judged after prisoner, through the interpreter, whether he persisted in his plea of "Guilty," with respect to the murder of Caroline Back, upon which he answered, "Yes," in a firm clear voice. The trial then proceeded.

Mr. Denman open the case. He said:- The prisoner, a Serbian by birth, in August last, was a soldier in the British Swiss Legion, stationed at Shorncliffe, in the service of Her Majesty. On the indictment in which he is charged, for the wilful murder of Maria Back, I think I should at once introduced to your notice (because a mention of the fact will come plainfully to your notice in the course of the case) there is another charge against him for the wilful murder of Caroline Back. It appeared that on the 2nd of August last the prisoner was at the house of John Back, at Dover. John Back was the father of Caroline and Maria Back, and is the husband of Mary Back, who had been in the habit of washing the clothes of some of the officers in the British Swiss Legion, and prisoner had been in the habit of bringing some of these articles to her to wash, walking from Folkestone to Dover, a distance of about eight or nine miles. In the course of his visits a intimacy sprung up between him and Caroline Back, and on the evening of Saturday, August 2nd, prisoner was at John Back's house, and then wanted Caroline Back to accompany him to the camp at Shorncliffe to see his sister. However, Mrs. Back made some objections, and said she would not let Caroline go unless Maria accompanied her. Maria Back was a girl of about 16 years of age; Caroline being about 18 years old. It was afterwards arranged that both the girls should go together. Redains remained at the house for some time, and very early next morning, indeed soon after 2 o'clock, he returned, and having breakfast with the two young women, shortly after 3 o'clock they all started in the direction of Folkestone. Among other articles which are two young women more, each of them had on a black visite.

They all started off, apparently, on good terms together, and on the road to Folkestone, just about 5 o'clock, a witness named Marsh saw them all three walking on the Folkestone Road, in the direction of Folkestone, and they then appeared to be on good terms together, prisoner having one of each of the young women's arms in his. Prisoner spoke to the witness, who, therefore, had a good opportunity of observing him, and was also enabled to know what time it was.

About seven an alarm of murder was raised by a man named Gurling; but, before I call Girling, it would be better to state at once that I don't go into any details of his evidence, as I have reason to doubt whether his evidence will be received on this enquiry, as Girling stated before the magistrates, and is likely to state again, that he has such a belief about things temporal and eternal that would render his evidence inadmissible in a court of justice. It will appear, however, that a man named Kitham, on the alarm being raised by Gurling, went to a place called Steady Hole, a sort of hollow not very far from Dover, and about a mile from the place where prisoner and the girls were seen; and a short distance from the road, quite removed from the observation of anyone passing along, he saw the dead bodies of the two young girls. They were taken immediately to a neighbouring house, where, about 10 o'clock, they were examined by a surgeon named Bateman.

In the course of the afternoon, Mrs. Back was brought to this place, and she identified the two dead bodies as those for her daughters. The bodies were found at some little distance from one another, and marks and violence were found on each. On the body of Caroline two deadly wounds were found, and, on the body of Maria, the girl prisoner is charged with murdering, were four deadly wounds. The surgeon, of course, had no doubt, as he will tell you, of the cause of their deaths. When the discovery of the bodies was known, a hue and cry was immediately raised, the police were set in motion, and every effort was it once used for the purpose of discovering by whom the foul deed been perpetrated. It was not, however, until the following Monday, August 4th, although the prisoner was, of course, strongly suspected, that anything occurred to show that he was the murderer. About nine on the morning of that day it was discovered that prisoner have been last seen at a place called Lower Hardres, three miles from Canterbury, and about 20 miles from where the bodies had been found. At this place, it appeared, prisoner went into the shop of a Mrs. Attwood, and asked for some paper, with which he was served. He then wrote two letters one directed to Miss Caroline Back, 5, Albion Place, Dover, and the other to Lieutenant Schmidt, the officer of the company in which deceased served. These were posted in the same village, about 9:30 or 10, and on the same day Superintendent Walker, armed with the authority of the magistrates, went to the post office in the village and obtained the letters. At that time the police were very active in the search, and the result was the discovery of the prisoner. He was seen about 4 o'clock on that day about a mile from Canterbury by a Constable of the name Fryer, who had some labourers with him, and the result was the prisoner was surrounded and taken into custody; but, before this was accomplished, the prisoner was seen to stab himself in the breast with a dagger which he held in his hand, and he inflicted such wounds upon himself that for some time he was confined to an hospital. The dagger, the surgeon will say, was calculated to produce such wounds as were found on the person of Maria Back. It will also be proved that the prisoner brought the dagger from a cutler in Dover named Green, on the night of Saturday, August 2nd. When seen walking along the road with the girls he had on his regimental coat, and when apprehended by the constable he had over his shoulder one of the black visites the girls had worn, and round his waist was the other. I must now direct your attention to the contents of the letters, because they are most important evidence if he makes any admission on that subject, and are also important evidence to show the motive for his dreadful crime.

A question then arose as to the accuracy of the translation of the letters, and Mr. Barrow stated that, in the translation supplied to him, he had found some words which would be a different meaning to those in Mr. Denmans translation. If Mr. Denman intended to adopt the translation used before the magistrates, he should be obliged to call evidence to show that that version was not correct.

Mr. Denman said Mr. Barrow might use both translations. He then continued his opening statement, and read the first of the letters, address to Mrs. Back. It is as follows:-

Dearest Mother Back:- On the first lines, I pray to forgive me the awful accident to the unlucky Dedia Redains which I committed upon my very dear Caroline and Maria Back, yesterday morning, at 5 o'clock. Scarcely I am able to write my heartbreak for my ever memorial Caroline and Mary Ann. The cause of my deed is 1. As I heard that Caroline is not in the family-way, as I first believed. 2. Because Caroline intends to go to Woolwich. 3. Because I cannot stay with my very dear Caroline, it made my heart so scattered that I put into my mind at last that Caroline rather may die from my hands than allow Caroline's love being bestowed upon others. However, I did not intend to murder also Mary Ann, her sister, but not having other opportunity, and as she was in my way, I could not do otherwise. - I must stab her too. Dear Mother Back, Saturday evening when I came, I had not at least any intention to commit this awful act, but as I learnt that my dear Caroline gave me back my likeness; and, as she told me she would leave. I did not know any other way in my heartbreak than that leading to the cutlers where I brought a poniard, which divided the hearty lovers. Arm by arm I brought both my dearest souls in the world over to the unlucky place near the road before Folkestone, and requested them to sit down, but, the grass being wet, they refused to do so, and I directed, then, Caroline to go forward, and I went behind Mary Ann, into his heart I ran the dagger. With a dull cry cry she dropped down. With a most broken heart I rushed then after Caroline, lifting the poniard in my hand towards her. "Dear, Dedia," crird she, with half dead voice, and fell down with weeping eyes. Then I then rushed over her and gave her the last kiss as an everlasting remembrance. I could not live a more dreadful hour in my life than that was, and my broken heart could not tell where my senses were gone, and I took both the black shawls of Mary Ann and my dear Caroline as a morning suit for me, leaving the awful spot, with weeping eyes and a broken heart. Never shall I forget my dear Caroline and Mary Ann, and the poniard will be covered with the blood of Mary Ann and Caroline with me until it be put in my own breast, and I shall see again my dear Mary Ann and Caroline in the eternal life. Farewell, and be careless about blissfully deceased angles of God, and forgive the unhappy, ever weeping. "Dedia Redanies" August 3rd 1856.

Mr. Denman said one of the most important features of the letter was that it gave a detailed account of the crime, which exactly agreed with the appearances presented by the body's when found, and also that it gave motives for the commission of the deed. There was, however, a prisoner named Horton whose evidence was of some importance; but, from the fact of his being under sentence, his evidence would probably be looked upon with a degree of doubt. He
would say that Redaines made a circumstantial confession to him, and in the course of it stated that one of the reasons that had induced him to commit the crime was that Caroline Back was going to keep company with an artilleryman at Woolwich, and that he stated that he would rather she died by his hand. This helped to clear up the passage in the letter, if it required any explanation. In the case of Mary Back the letter showed an extraordinary amount of coolness and determination on the part of the prisoner. He went behind her, according to his own account, and suddenly put an end to her existence. He says he intended also to end his own existence with the dagger, but for a man in the situation of the prisoner to endeavour to commit suicide while the offices of Justice were upon him was a very different thing to attempting is life without any such an inducement. In the other letter enclosed a duplicate of a watch to Lieutenant Schmidt, and also entreats pardon "for the unhappy Dedia." He thought he had said all that was necessary to be said in necessary to be said in opening the case, and his Lordship with that careful consideration which all Judges of the land ever exhibited towards unfortunate individuals in the prisoners position, had entrusted his cause to his learned friend Mr. Barrow, with his ability he (Mr. Denman) had had long experiences, and he felt grateful to his Lordship for so doing. If any cause could be shown to induce the jury to return of verdict of not guilty, he was quite sure it would be forcibly urged by Mr. Barrow. His lordship then would clearly explain difficult points that might arise on one side or the other, and it would then be for the jury to say whether the prisoner, Dedia Redaines, was guilty or not guilty of the crime of marine Maria Back.

The learned counsel then called the following witnesses:-

John Back, a respectable looking middle aged man, said:- I live at No 5, Albion Place, Dover. On the 3rd of August last I had two daughters, Caroline and Maria. I last saw them about 3:30 o'clock in the morning, when they left with Dedia Redaines. He was a soldier in the Swiss Legion. The Prisoner was dressed in his uniform. My daughter's had light frocks, white stockings, and black cloaks. The visites now produced were theirs. We had been acquainted with Redaines about a year. He used to bring the soldiers' washing down to our house. He was always very quiet, and used to make the bills out for my wife. He came to our house over night, and left at 9:30. I don't know where he slept that night; but it came back to my house about half-past three o'clock. They seemed on very good terms that morning before they started.

Cross-examined:- He had been paying his addresses, for seven or eight months, to my daughter Caroline, and was very much attached to her. He was received as her accepted lover. I was with them the whole time on Saturday night, and he made no requests to my daughters. He was paying his addresses to Caroline, and he was fond of Maria as as of a girl he expected to be his sister. He was always very kind and quiet.

Re-examined:- Never heard him express himself dissatisfied with Caroline for having been with someone else.

Mrs. Back (who seemed much distressed, and wept) said:- I recollect the 2nd of August, and remember Redaines came to our house about 7:30 o'clock. He spoke of talking taking Caroline to Shorncliffe to see his sister, who, he said, had come from Aldershot. I told him Caroline was very poorly, and not able to walk. I told him that I taken her to the doctor, who said she must have all the rest she could, and I did not like her to walk. I wanted her to stay till the train, but he said a little walk before sunshine would do her good. He said it was not on account of the expense, for his sister had given him 100, and he had plenty of money. I did not like Caroline to go by herself, and it was agreed that Maria should go with them. On Sunday about 12 o'clock, I was sent for to Mr. Burville's cottage, about four and a half miles from Dover, and I there saw the dead bodies of my daughters. Caroline was 19, and Maria 17 years of age. On the Saturday evening Caroline gave him his portrait back, and he broke it and threw it into the fire. I did not see why he did that.

Cross-examined:- When he took the portrait, he said it was too small - he would have a larger one to hang over the mantle.

George Marsh, a labourer, living at Hougham said:- On the Sunday morning I was sitting on the bank at 5 o'clock, about 5 miles from Dover, lacing up my boots. While I sat there I saw a soldier and two women pas me. He had on a red jacket and cap, and the young woman had light dresses. They were walking one holding one of his arms and the other the other arm. They seemed quite friendly, and were talking and laughing. As they passed the soldier asked what it was o'clock. I afterwards went to Burville's cottage, which is on the right hand side, a little from the road, and there saw the bodies of the two women dead. It is about a mile from where they passed me.

Thomas Gurling, the next witness called, and who it appeared first found the dead bodies of the girls, refused to be sworn, and said he could not take the oath except as a civil ceremony.

The Judge:- Do you believe in a state of future rewards and punishments.

Witness:- I do not believe.

Gurling was then dismissed; the Court evidently feeling relieved when he disappeared.

Richard Kitham said:- I am landlord of the "Valiant Sailor," I went with Gurling to a place called Steady Hole, and saw the bodies of two young women. There is a short footpath which cuts off a little curve in the road. I assisted in removing them to Burville's Cottage.

Cross examined:- On approaching the spot I saw the oldest girl first. It was lying nearest to Folkestone. The grass did not appear to be disturbed or trodden down. Mr. William Bateman, surgeon, Folkestone, was sent for to Burville's cottage to examine the bodies of two girls who had been found murdered. I first examine the younger. I found four punctured wounds deeply penetrating the chest, two on each side of the sternum or breast bone, and penetrating between the cartilages of the second and fourth ribs. The wounds appeared to have been produced by a poniard. The knife produced might have caused the wound. [The instrument was a clasp-knife, with a spring, to prevent the blade, which is about 4 inches long, from closing.] Death must have been instantaneous. Some parts of the body were still warm. The wounds on both bodies were the same character, except that, on Caroline, one wound had more of a lacerated character, as if there been some resistance.

Elizabeth Atwood:- I keep a grocery shop at Lower Hardres, and remember, on Monday, the 4th of August, a man coming to my shop. The prisoner is very much altered if he is the man. He was a foreigner, and had two capes on - one over his shoulder and one round his middle. He asked if I sold writing paper, envelopes, and pens. He paid for some, and then asked to sit down and write a letter. The purse produced is exactly like the one he pulled out to pay for the things.

The paper he had was bill-paper, ruled with blue and red lines. I had no note-paper. He sat down, and I saw him write in a foreign language. The letter produced is the same. He put something like a duplicate in one of the letters. He went away towards the post office. It was about half-past ten o'clock.

Cross-examined:- He was in my shop for an hour and a half, I had plenty of opportunity of examining him. There was only one counter between us.

Re-examined:- I could not swear that the prisoner at the bar is the man examined before the magistrates. He then looked very ill, and had no whiskers.

Mrs. Barwood said a foreign soldier came to her shop and brought two postage stamps, which he put upon two letters, and put them in the box. Mr. Walker came the same day, and stopped the letters.

William Walker, superintendent constable of the Home division of the county, said:- I went to last witness on the 4th of August, who gave me the two letters produced. I took them to the persons to whom they were addressed. In one of them was a duplicate.

Mrs. Back (recalled) identified the letters as in prisoners handwriting. She had often seen him make a bills for her.

Cross-examining:- The bills then made out were in the German character, which I did not know, but I have seen him right English characters.

Dr. Ross, of Canterbury, and linguist, said:- The letter handed to me is in the German language. I made a literal translation of the one addressed to Lieutenant Smith, and that of the letter addressed to Mrs. Back I corrected. The witness then read the letter (already given in Mr. Deadman's speech), translating it as he proceeded.

Cross-examined:- The word "occurrence," in another translation is translated "accident," but that is not accurate. In the same translation, the words "which I perpetrated" is "what happened," but that is wrong. There is the German for "I," but the word "perpetrated" is, in the original, the past participle, and not the perfect tense. John Green, a Cutler at Dover, said:- The knife produce looks like one I sold to the prisoner at the bar sometime ago. My name is upon it. It was on Saturday evening, about 6 o'clock, on the 2nd of August, that I sold the knife to the prisoner.

George Hilton, of 21, King Street, Canterbury:- Was a prisoner in St. Augustine's gaol from April to October last. I remember Redaines coming to the gaol, and soon after he came I was placed in attendance upon him, and continued to do so till October last. He often talked to me, in a kind of broken English, of the crime which brought in there. He told me that he first met Caroline and Maria after he had been to the theatre. He had one evening when he was sitting in the house with Caroline he saw an artilleryman come down-stairs. He asked who it was, and Caroline said it was a friend.

They did not have words about that circumstance, but he went to Aldershot, and while there he had written several letters to Caroline, but when he came back he asked to see those letters. She brought them, and he saw one among them which he knew was not his writing. He took it, and he found it said, "My dear Caroline - I shall soon have the pleasure of seeing you at Woolwich." Caroline took it from him and burnt it. They continued very good friends afterwards; and on the Saturday before the murder, when he went in Caroline said, "Dedea here is your portrait." "What do you give it me for?" said he. She said, "I am going to Woolwich." He said to himself, "You no go to Woolwich," and he took his hat and went down the street, and brought the knife.

Cross-examined:- Might have talked to Redaines every day, more or less. Two other prisoners, placed with me in care of him, were present. Did not know that anyone else was ever present; and on several occasions had conversations - perhaps ten times - when nobody was by; perhaps thirty or forty times when they were by. I told the governor and the chaplain what he had said. I never gave him the smallest caution that what he said would be repeated against him. Every time I saw that chaplain to speak to I told him. The chaplain does not see every prisoner everyday. The governor does. I only told the governor once; and the reason I told the chaplain was because he frequently asked me how Redaines was getting on. He always told me Caroline gave his portrait back of her own accord. He said that, after she came back from buying the knife, he asked them to go to Folkestone, and when they objected that they had no parasols, he gave them money to purchase some. He told me that he slept in the house at Saturday night.

Re-examined:- I did not question him, but he told me this of his own accord. I never asked him one single question.

George Fryer said:- I am a Constable living at Thannington near Canterbury. I saw the prisoner on the Monday afternoon near Milton Chapel, a mile and a half from Canterbury. Folkestone is about 20 miles off. When I saw him I went over to collar him. I saw him take his hand from his breast and throw a knife down on the ground. This is a knife I produced to-day. I then seized him. He had on a female's cape like a mackintosh, and he wore another like a waistcoat, with his arms through the holes. He had no coat on; and in his pockets was a purse with 3s. 6d. in it. In consequence of the wounds he had given himself, he was taken to the hospital. Superintendent Clement took prisoner to the hospital, and took the capes produced to-day from the prisoner.

Mr. F. Barrow then rose to address the jury for the prisoner. If it's learned friend in the last case had to ask for their indulgence, how much more had he reason to do the same. His learned friend had had the advantage of receiving his instructions through the ordinary channels; he had the advantage of having the case sifted with all the intelligence and acuteness which could be brought to bear upon it. In the present instance the learned judge, actuated by the sense of humanity which always adorns the bench, seeing that the prisoner had no friends, he requested him (Mr. Barrow) to undertake the defence. It was now, therefore, his duty to make such observations as occurred to him as likely to be of service to the prisoner, without, however, having even the advantage of communicating with the prisoner in his own language - and he was not sure the prisoner would endorse the defence he was about to set up. He could not, indeed, occasion the fact that, with respect to the charge of murdering the sister Caroline, the prisoner have pleaded guilty, and persisted in that plea, notwithstanding the advice of the judge that he should withdraw it. Under these circumstances, then, what was the duty he had to perform? It seemed to him that there was one topic, and one only, on which he could addressed them; and it was to urge a defence similar to that which had been presented to them in the last case - namely, that he was in such a state of mind which prevented him from being able to judge of the nature and quality of the act. He, therefore, submitted to them that the prisoner was not at the time the offence was committed in a state of mind as to be responsible for his own acts. The learned council then proceeded to quote several high authorities on the subject of sanity, dwelling particularly upon the words of one of the most eminent writers upon medical jurisdiction of the present day, which describe the state of partial insanity called homicidal monomania, and which the person labouring under it was so possessed with an irresistible and perhaps sudden impulse to destroy those to whom he was most tenderly attached, or any other person involved in the subject of his own individual delusions. The learned counsel then dwelt upon the apparent language of the letters read, and the poor wretch wandering about dressed frantically in the garb of his victims, as sufficient, taken with his previous intense love for one of the deceased, and the absence of all previous quarrel with her, to bring his case within the definition of homicidal monomania.

It was generally admitted that the address of the learned counsel was (under the circumstances, and considering the irresistible nature of the case he had to struggle with) as able and ingenious as it was eloquent and feeling.

The Learned Judge, in summing up, said the prisoner having pleaded guilty to the murder of one girl, and not guilty to the murder of the other, while the circumstances appeared exactly the same, he had thought it right to try the prisoner upon his plea of not guilty, in order that they might see if there were any circumstances in the case which offered such an explanation of his conduct as could absolve him in any degree from its consequences. He complimented the learned counsel (Mr. Barrow) on the admirable manner in which he had discharged the duty devolving upon him. The Judge then went through the evidence, dwelling on the points which had been adduced in support of the defence, and, after once more laying down the law on the subject of insanity, left it to the jury to say whether or not there were sufficient grounds for believing that the prisoner did not know the nature and quality of the crime he had committed.

The Jury was scarcely two minutes in consultation before the verdict they returned a verdict of "Wilful Murder."

The prisoner was then asked, through the interpreter, whether he had anything to say why sentence of death should not be passed, and answering in the negative.

His Lordship assumed the black cap, and addressing him as follows:- Prisoner at the bar, the jury have found you guilty of the murder of this young woman, Maria Back, and I have no doubt that they have properly found you guilty. Your offence is not as hateful as though it had proceeded from the motive of obtaining the property of another, or of revenge, or any other motive hateful or detestable in itself; but you have allowed an ill-regulated passion to get the mastery over you, and your conduct is, in reality, as selfish and as wicked as it it proceeded from any of the motives I have mentioned.

Although, therefore, one may pity you more, it is necessary to make an example as much in this as in any other case of murder. I have only to pass a sentence of the law on you, after warning you that most assuredly it will be carried into execution, that you may prepare yourself for the fate you must shortly undergo. The sentence of the Court on you for the crime of wilful murder is that you be taken hence to the prison from whence you came, from thence to a place of execution, and there be hanged by the neck till you are dead, and your body buried within the princess of the gaol, according to the statute in the case made and provided.

The sentence was interrupted clause by clause to the prisoner, who seemed quite unmoved, and, at its conclusion, he walked cooley from the dock.

The business of the assizes then concluded at half-past five o'clock.



1 JANUARY 1857

In front of a large crowd, Dedea Redanies (26) was executed on top of the porter's lodge at Maidstone Gaol. He appeared little concerned, approaching the scaffold with ‘a cheerful step'. Once there, he called out: ‘In a few moments I shall be in the arms of my dear Caroline. I care not for death.'

Redanies had murdered 21-year-old Caroline Back along with her younger sister, Maria, one Sunday morning in August. Perhaps she was having doubts about marrying the Serb mercenary, now a member of the British-Swiss Legion, enlisted to fight alongside the British against the Russians in the Crimea.

Recently, Redanies had had doubts about her faithfulness and had become obsessively jealous. And so, on the day before he committed his double murder, he bought himself a knife with a 4-inch blade.

It was arranged that on this August Sunday the soldier and the two girls would set off before dawn to walk the 10 miles from the Backs' house in Albion Place, Dover, along the cliff-top path to Folkestone. When at about seven o'clock they passed the "Royal Oak", east of Capel-le-Ferne, the ostler thought they seemed very happy. But the bodies of Caroline and Maria were discovered only two hours later at Steddy Hole, a desolate spot, today called The Warren. They were both dead from deep stab wounds to the chest.

But where was Redanies? The next day he was first spotted at Barham Down. Later he called at a shop in Lower Hardres where he bought writing paper and wrote two letters. In the afternoon, a policeman approached him near Milton Chapel, outside Canterbury. The soldier took out a knife and stabbed himself.

Redanies recovered slowly in St Augustine's Gaol in Canterbury. He wrote letters to the Back family, expressing his sorrow, and these suggest that he was insane. Nevertheless, he was sentenced to hang. He said that he looked forward to being reunited with Caroline and her sister.

Another letter to the Backs, to be opened after his death, read: ‘We are above with our Father again... I greet you with my dear Caroline and Maria... It was signed: ‘Caroline Back. Dedea Redanies, Maria Back.'


 August 3, 1856 - Caroline and Maria Back murdered in Folkestone

January 1, 1857 - Tedea (Dedea?) Redanies hanged for the crime

Further reading click here.


I have seen several versions of the song "The Folkestone Murder", all are very similar and tell the story of Dedea Redanies and his murder of Caroline and Maria Beck.

The Folkestone Murder (sung by George Spicer) (Roud 897)

(Recorded 12.11.59 at The Oak Tree, Ardingley)

The latest version by Nic.

Kind friends come pay attention and listen to my song

It is about a murder, it won't detain you long

'Twas near the town of Folkestone this shocking deed was done

Maria and sweet Caroline were murdered by Switzerland John.


He came unto their parents' house at nine o'clock one night

But little did poor Caroline think he owed her any spite.

"Will you walk with me, dear Caroline?" the murderer did say,

And she agreed to accompany him to Shorncliffe Camp next day.


Said the mother to the daughter "You'd better stay at home.

It is not fit for you to go with that young man alone.

You'd better take your sister to go along with you,

Then I have no objection, dear daughter, you may go."


Early next morning, before the break of day

Maria and sweet Caroline from Dover town did stray.

But before they reached to Folkestone the villain drew a knife,

Maria and sweet Caroline he took away their lives.


Down on the ground the sisters fell, all in their blooming years

For mercy cried, "We're innocent", their eyes were filled with tears.

He plunged the knife into their breasts, their lovely breasts so deep,

He robb'd them of their own sweet lives and left them there to sleep.


Three times he kissed their pale cold cheeks as they lay on the ground,

He took the capes from off their backs, for on him they were found.

He said "Farewell dear Caroline, your blood my hands have stained.

No more on earth shall I see you, but in heaven we'll meet again."


Early next morning their bodies they were found

At a lonely spot called Steady Hall, a-bleeding on the ground.

And if ever you go unto that spot, these letters you will find

Cut deeply in the grass so green: Maria and Caroline.


When the news it reached their parents' ears, they cried, "What shall we do?

Maria has been murdered, and lovely Caroline too"

They pulled and tore their old grey hair, in sorrow and in shame

And tears they rolled in torrents from their poor aged cheeks.


This murderer has been taken, his companions to him deny

And he is sent to Maidstone and is condemned to die

He said, "Farewell" to all his friends "In this world I am alone

And have to die for murder, far from my native home."


"The dismal bell is tolling, the scaffold I must prepare

I trust in heaven my soul shall rest and meet dear Caroline there.

Now all young man take warning from this sad fate of mine

To the memory of Maria Back and lovely Caroline."


A horrible song, it seems to me, with few redeeming graces - yet it has seemed to be well known, certainly among Travellers. Something of a shock, then, to find only ten instances noted in Roud... and five of these refer to George Spicer! Other known singers have been Mrs Coomber of Blackham, Sussex (noted by Anne Gilchrist in 1906), Charlie Bridger and Phoebe Smith's brother Charlie Scamp (both of Kent). The other two entries are from Canada. But George Spicer's son Ron also recorded it, in 1994, on the cassette Steel Carpet (MATS 0010), and I remember Jack Smith, the Milford, Surrey, based Traveller, singing it in the mid-sixties. Jack sang not only this but at least eight other songs, including four of Pop Maynard's, to be found on this pair of CDs.

According to Brian Matthews, 'Switzerland John' was Dedea Redanies, born in the 1830s in Belgrade. He came to England in 1855 and was enlisted into the British Swiss Legion stationed at Dover Castle. He became acquainted with a laundry worker, Mrs Back, whose husband was a dredger in Dover harbour.

During the summer of 1856, Redanies was courting the elder Back daughter, Caroline.

On August 2nd he accused her of receiving attentions from a sergeant in his unit.

She denied this and he appeared satisfied. He proposed a walk over the downs to Shorncliffe Camp the following day. Mrs Back insisted that they be chaperoned by Caroline's younger sister Maria. At Steddy's Hole, some five miles out, he killed them both.

Redanies was captured the following day at Milton Chapel Farm, Chartham, near Canterbury, after having tried to commit suicide. He was tried, found guilty and hanged at Maidstone on New Year's Day 1857.


George claimed that his grandfather saw Redanies captured, and was most concerned about singing the song in public for fear of offending any relatives of the Backs who might be present.



I am informed by Barry O'Brien that the inquest on the body of the girls was held in the nearby "Royal Oak" and that John had drunk a swift half in the "Three Horseshoes" at Lower Hardres immediately before his capture and rest.


From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday 15 February, 1867.


Joseph Davis, who had been remanded from a previous day on a charge of breaking into the house of William Fairbrass, and stealing therefrom a great coat value 10s. was again brought up.

The evidence of the prosecutor and of Superintendent English had been taken at the first examination.

That of the first wont to show that he was a labourer living in the parish of Hougham. On Wednesday morning, January 30, about half-past six he left his house to go to work, his wife and children being in bed. Everything in the house when he left was right as far as he noticed. In about an hour afterwards his wife sent for him and on going back to his house he found that several things had been taken from it. The great coat in question was one of the articles missed. The Superintendent, who is stationed at Seabrook, said that on the day in question he received information that several things had been taken from Mr. Fairbrass's house. He made enquiries, and on Thursday morning, on coming through Sandgate, he met the prisoner coming up the street. He was wearing the coat produced and identified by Fairbrass. Witness said, "This is the coat I have been looking for; where did you get it?" prisoner replied, "I bought it." Witness then charged him with stealing it, and took him into custody.

Frederick Kitham now deposed: I live at the "Valiant Sailor," at the top of Folkestone Hill. Last Wednesday week I was on the Dover Road, about eight o'clock in the morning, when I saw the prisoner. When I first saw him he appeared to have his coat off and to be in his shirt sleeves. It was rather foggy at the time. There was a bend in the road; and I lost sight of him for a little while; but when I saw him again he had a brown coat on. He looked towards Dover, and then took up a coat off the bank and went down the lane. When he came back he had the coat on and was buttoning it up. The coat now produced by Superintendent English is very much like it. He had two bundles in his hand, one tied up in a red and white handkerchief and the other in a blue one. After the prisoner had gone I looked and found the old coat now produced, stuffed in a hole in the bank, close to where I had seen the prisoner standing. I afterwards gave the coat to Superintendent English.

In cross-examination the prisoner witness said he had no doubt as to his identity.

This completed the case for the prosecution; and the prisoner, after having had the usual caution read over to him, said nothing in his defence.

The prisoner was then fully committed to take his trial at the next Maidstone Sessions, instead of at Canterbury, on account of there being a larger number of prisoner's then usual at St. Augustine's.

Three other charges were preferred against the prisoner, who was accused of stealing clothes the property of Sergeant Tilley, Corporal Seaton, and Private Elms.

It appeared from the evidence of Mrs. Tilley, wife of the first named prosecutor, that she washed for her husband and the two other men. On the 27th January her husband gave her white under flannel and a print shirt belonging to himself, a pair of drawers belonging to Corporal Seaton, and a night shirt of Private Elms. She washed them on the 29th, and on the 31st hung them out to dry, about ten o'clock in the morning. When she went, about three, to take them in, she missed them.

The prisoner was committed for trial on these charges also.


From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday 18 October, 1895.


On Monday evening a sad trap accident occurred on Folkestone Hill, by which Mrs. Aird, landlady of the "Valiant Sailor," was killed, her husband and another occupant injured, and the horse killed.


Folkestone, Hythe, Sandgate & Cheriton Herald 07 July 1900.


Charles Bowman, employed by Mr. W. Aird, dairyman, the "Valiant Sailor," was charged with stealing 1 1s. 1d. from his master. It appeared that a balance to that amount was due to Mr. Aird by one of his customers, Mr. Alfred White, landlord of the "Martello," Dover-road, and that it was duly paid at the end of May to the defendant but never accounted for.

Sentenced to two months' imprisonment.


From the Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald. 2 March 1901. Price 1d.


While proceeding down Dover Hill recently a man named Hogben, who had been in the employ of Mr. W. Aird, of the “Valiant Sailor,” for over twenty years, slipped on the frozen snow and broke his leg. He sent a passer by to Folkestone for a cab, but without result, as the slippery condition of the hill rendered it impossible for vehicles to ascend, and the unfortunate man was compelled to lay in agony for over two hours before assistance arrived. Mr. Aird, on being informed of the accident sent a constable who was with him to bind up the sufferer's leg, and arrived on the scene directly after with his waggonette for the purpose of driving the man to the Victoria Hospital. Hogben was carefully lifted into the vehicle, but it had not proceeded a hundred yards when it suddenly swerved right round, and turning over threw all the occupants out onto the frozen road. Mr. Aird sustained a dislocated shoulder and the others a severe shaking. About three years ago Mr. Aird's wife was killed and his daughter seriously injured by a similar upset on the same spot.


From the Folkestone, Hythe, Sandgate, & Cheriton Herald, 12 August, 1903.

Telephone 36.

The “Valiant Sailor Inn”. On top of Folkestone Hill.

And on the main road to Dover

Unique Accommodation for Cyclists and Picnic Parties.

Afternoon Teas, served in well-appointed and Airy Rooms on the Cliffs, Cascading magnificent views of the Warren, Channel and Passing Ships.


Dover Express 09 April 1915.


At the Eltham County Bench on Thursday last week, the licence of the "Valiant Sailor", at the top of Folkestone Hill, was temporarily transferred from the executors of the late Mr. William Aird to Mr. Alfred Aird.


From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday 30 April, 1926. Price 1d.


At the Seabrook Police Court on Friday last week, Andrew Benedict Richards, of Chatham, who was charged on remand with breaking and entering the “Valiant Sailor,” Hawkinge, near Folkestone, and stealing five Masonic medals, a metal watch and a bunch of keys, valued 7 5s., was committed for trial at the Kent Assizes. The Magistrates adopted a similar course in regard to two other charges of housebreaking at Cheriton.

Mr. A. C. Aird, of the “Valiant Sailor,” stated that on the night of the 14th inst. he made an inspection of the premises and found them all secure. Just after six o'clock on the following morning, upon going downstairs, he noticed that the dining room window was open and one pane was broken near the catch. The room itself was in a state of great disorder. There was an office adjoining the dining room and the door had been locked. He unlocked the door and found that the window was open, and a pane of glass near the catch was broken. The office was also in great disorder. The front door was also unbolted. He missed nothing from the dining room, but he found that five of his Masonic jewels (three produced) and a gun metal watch, which had been kept in a drawer in his desk, had gone. Later he missed a bunch of keys, some foreign coins, and a small electric torch. He identified the three medals, whilst the keys and watch were similar to those he had had. The value of the missing articles was between 7 and 8.

Detective Constable Avory, stationed at Seabrook, deposed to examining the last witness's premises on the morning of the 15th inst. A room used as an office had been entered by the window, which had a pane of glass broken near the catch. The room had the appearance of having been hurriedly searched. On the 18th inst. he saw the accused in Custody at Chatham Police Station. When charged and cautioned Richards said, “Three of the medals I gave to three men at Folkestone; I also gave one of them the watch. I do not know who they were.” On the 20th he (witness) recovered the watch at New Romney.

Miss Mary Green, of Chatham, said the prisoner was her brother, and on the 15th inst. he gave her two medals, a tobacco pouch, a silver pen and pencil, and a pair of gloves.


From the Folkestone, Hythe, Sandgate and Cheriton Herald, 3 July 1926.


Passenger flights daily at the Flying Ground, opposite the "Valiant Sailor", Dover Road, 10 a.m. till dusk, until Sunday July 11th.

We guarantee enjoyment or cash refunded.

Flights at 5/-, 10/-, 15/- and 1. Looping the loop 15/-, other stunts by appointment.

Wonderful trick and exhibition flying during Sunday afternoon. Including such daring feats as walking the wings mid air, and other acrobatics seldom seen except on the film.

Other stunts at arrangement.

Watch for the red machines.


From the Folkestone, Hythe, Sandgate, & Cheriton Herald, 16 May, 1931.

The “Valiant” Sailors.

We really have no need, perhaps, to be reminded that our sailors are valiant, be they associated with the Royal Navy, the Mercantile Marine, the Lifeboat Service, or three other callings connected with those who "go down to the sea in ships and do their business in the great waters.” Those who dwell inland possess much of that knowledge through the printed word or an occasional visit to the seaside, but many of us who have dwelt for the best part of our lives, as it were, on the margin of this immediate storm-swept coast, have this constantly brought before our minds. In extension of this thought we may refer to the forthcoming visit to Folkestone of H.M. battleship Valiant, with its crew of twice four hundred men of all ratings. Folkestone, true to itself, will accord these men, with the salt sea as it were, pulsating through their veins, that welcome which shall be British to the core.

That “Valiant Sailor" on the Hill-top.

Of course we have been reminded—if we needed reminding—by the "sailor" described as "Valiant" standing isolated alone on the edge of the cliff on the Folkestone-Dover Road, and standing all these years four square to all the winds that blow, and hundreds of feet above the level of the sea. Of course, I am referring to the famous inn "The Valiant Sailor" owned by Mr. A. C. Aird, as it was also by his father, the late Mr. W. Aird. Of course this particular "Sailor" is on the main road to Dover—six miles distant. Outside the establishment was at one time a toll-house or turnpike gate. So rapid is the flight of time that the present generation can hardly realise that every horse and vehicle, besides droves of sheep and cattle, were compelled to pay toll before they could pass through the aforesaid gate or similar gates on the main roads. A carrier van, and occasional horsed ’bus—that was all the communication that existed in those days, which many of us recall. And so it comes about that our "Valiant Sailor" on Dover Hill has witnessed a revolution. He has seen the old gate abolished, a ten minute motor 'bus service created between the two towns, whilst hundreds of motor vehicles pass by every day of the year. Here is progress if you like. I may be perhaps pardoned for mentioning it, that I made the first journey ever made from Folkestone to Dover on a motor vehicle named "The Pioneer." It was driven by Mr. Ernest Salter, motor engineer, and son of the late Alderman W. Salter. J.P., of Folkestone. Those of us who braved that journey, especially up Dover Hill, were proud of ourselves on that day. I often gaze on a photo which depicts the old "Pioneer" on its way to Dover. I could write a story—on exciting one, too—of on experience I had on this self-same "Pioneer” as it did a sprint down the famous Whitfield Hill. Space, however, just now forbids.

"The Jolly Sailor."

I am informed by the present proprietor Mr. Alfred C. Aird (whom I have already mentioned) that the old inn alluded to was originally designated the "Jolly Sailor.” Why its name was altered I cannot tell, and my friend. Mr. Aird, cannot throw any light on the subject. Certainly there is something very jolly associated with that word Jolly. But from what I can gather from a volume I have before me, there were certain people in other days that did approve of it. Thus I read: "The use of the word 'Jolly’ on the signboards of various inns formerly so common in our ‘Merrie England’ is now so common in our 'Merrie England' is now gradually dying away. Whatever be the opinion upon the subject of national good humour it seems some people no longer desire to be advertised us jolly." Why object, for instance to the “Jolly Britisher," the ‘Molly Farmer," or the "Jolly Sailor.” What a funny world is this. It would seem then that in the Merrie England of those other days they had their "killjoys” with their sour faces and the canker of envy, malice, and uncharitableness over gnawing at their hands. However, when we pause to think, the word valiant is a very fine one.

Old Coastguard Station.

When, then, our valiant guests pay us their forthcoming visit we hope they will remember that "Valiant Sailor” who has stood sentinel on yonder hill-top since that time when Folkestone was nothing more (as Defoe described it) "a miserable fishing village." Let us forget for the moment telephones, wireless, and even the (then) partly developed telegraph service. In a meadow at the rear of "The Jolly Sailor" was established a coast-guard station, with a high flag staff near it. There was a chain of these stations all along the coast. The nearest to the one mentioned were Sandgate on one side and the Lydden Spout on the other. Coastguards watched in pursuance of their calling. Here, with the aid of telescopes, they would sweep the horizon, keeping a watch the while on suspicious looking craft (smuggling perchance) or the various types of vessels (all under sail in those days) going to or coming from all parts of the globe. Of course those on board exchanged signals with those on shore by means of flags. I don't quite know how it was, but in a nearby meadow Mr. Aird caused some minor excavations to be made, for what purpose I do not for the moment remember. However the man or men employed came across a bricked structure which apparently was used by the coastguard as a much needed shelter on that bleak hill-top. In the course of digging thousands of oyster shells were found, and these were in layers. These were not the shell covering of the renowned Royal Whitstable, but the shells of the real Channel oysters, many larger than the palm of a large hand. How was it those shells formed a part in this underground cavern or shelter? There were several hundred of them.

In Close Proximity to the Meadow.

Leading from this meadow, perched on the cliff. and with the beautiful undulating Warren below, are the famous High-cliff Tea Gardens which are part and parcel of the property on which the parcel of the property on which the "Valiant Sailor" stands. Painted with the loveliest early spring flowers, these gardens provides one of the fairest of Kentish pictures. They are indeed unique in their way.

The ‘'Valiant” Boys in Blue.

Folkestone, as I have already mentioned, may be trusted to do the right thing in welcoming the "boys" associated with the fine warship bearing a name that will be on everybody’s lips in Folkestone in a few weeks’ time. One of the first objects these brave boys will "pick out" from the sea will be their namesake "The Valiant Sailor." And so this particular old "sailor" only one in England—will come at last into its own, and it may be taken for granted that their name-sake, standing on the top of the Dover Hill and keeping watch and ward on the coast during their absence, will not be one whit behind. There is not such another "Sailor" in England, and its proprietor rejoices in this tact.

Missionaries for Folkestone.

I really believe that if the hundreds of licensed victuallers, together with their lady friends, who left Folkestone after the recent conference, had been canvassed, there would not have been found a grumble in regard to their visit to this-town. Thus these have departed to the north, east, west, and south, as so many potential missionaries for our town. Each of those in their several ways—in their saloons, private, and public bars—will preach, as it were, the Gospel of Folkestone. This especially applies to the North and Midlands. On my occasional visits to distant places I have invariably tested this point. “Yes, I know Folkestone, having passed through it during the war on my way to the front." That sums up the situation in regard to many I have met. Strolling on the ''Stray'’ at Harrogate one fine day I came across an individual (a young man about town" he appeared to be) who had not then heard of Folkestone. Of course he could not have read much. It is, however, no astounding fact that with all our publicity, there still remains much to be done in the way of advertising propaganda, and it in cheerful to know that the hundreds of licensed victuallers will now do their share. Of course, the great success of the visit was the splendid behaviour of the Clerk of the Weather. He it was that painted our scenery and attractions in golden rays of sunlight.


From the Dover Express, 19 August, 1938.


Radio enthusiasts will be interested to learn of the splendid reception of television programmes at the Highcliffe Tea Gardens (adjoining the “Valiant Sailor”) which is 546ft. above sea level. Although some 80 miles from the television transmitter at Alexandra Palace, programmes are received with the utmost clarity. The demonstrations are arranged by Bobby’s wireless department, of 8, Bouverie Place, Folkestone, and two Pye vision receivers are used.


From the Dover Express, 13 May, 1970

80 pub raid at Capel

Drinks and cigarettes worth 80 were stolen during the weekend from the "Valiant Sailor" public house at the top of Dover Hill, Folkestone, by raiders who got through a window.


Birmingham Daily Post - Friday 1 September 1972.

Closed Window Led To Death Of Girl.

A Birmingham girl killed by gas fumes while taking a shower would probably have survived if a window in the room had been opened.

Mr. Paul Sweeney, aged 40, of Kingsbury Road, Erdington Birmingham, told the Coroner at Folkestone how he spent a holiday early last month with his wife and three children at the "Valiant Sailor" caravan site Capel-le-Ferne.

On the 5th day his older daughter, June, aged 14, had decided to take a shower for the first time during her stay with her sister Maureen, aged 10. They got up early and made a cup of tea, then went to take their shower.

When after a while they failed to return, there 7 year old brother Paul was sent to look for them. He came back and said his sister's appeared to have left the shower, although one door was still engaged.

Mrs. Sweeney was not satisfied and went to the shower, where she prised open the closely fitting door with a nail. She found Jane slumped in a sitting position and Maureen lying on the floor beside her.

The two girls were dragged outside, given the kiss of life, and taken to hospital. Maureen recovered, but Jane died.

Gas Flow.

Mr. Norman Ricktwood, a South Eastern Gas Board official inspected the shower after the tragedy, said he found the only ventilation came from a one-eighth of an inch gap under the door, a small air-brick, and the window, which is understood to have been closed when the girls took their shower.

The gas flow to the heater was 15% above normal and there were signs of distortion in the fins of the heat exchanger. When he carried out of test with the door and window closed, he found that 1% of carbon monoxide built up from the heater in about 20 minutes.

This was sufficient to endanger life, but with the window open he found there was no significant build-up of carbon monoxide.

No instructions on how to use the shower were displayed and the heater was of a type that would not be fitted for such use today.

The licensee of the "Valiant Sailor" public house, Mrs. Floria Ramsford, said she had applied for new instructions to replace missing ones but have been informed by the Gas Board that they are out-of-print.

The Coroner, Mr. Norman Franks, said that from the evidence he could only conclude that with the window open there was no danger to life and there was no reason why the girls should not have opened it. He recorded a verdict of death by misadventure.



1. Application for the grant of an outdoor public entertainments licence for The Valiant Sailor, New Dover Road, Capel le Ferne.

Mr. D Lewis, the applicant, spoke at the meeting in support of his application which was for an annual charity musical event to be held this year on Saturday 28 August 1999.

RESOLVED:- To grant an outdoor public entertainments licence for The Valiant Sailor, ew Dover Road, Capel le Ferne for an event to be held on Saturday 28 August 1999, the hours to be restricted to:- 15.00hrs to 23.45hrs and a maximum occupancy of 300 persons.


Valiant Sailor business card 2007

Valiant Sailor business card 2007

From an email received 3 October 2009.

Dear Mr Skelton.

Thank you for an interesting resume of some history together with photographs of the Valiant Sailor Inn, Capel le Ferne, which I found particularly interesting as my grandmother Lilian Lizzie VIDLER was born there in 1882 as per the copy of her birth certificate.

Her mother was Ann Elizabeth nee GIBSON of Elham,Kent and father was Charles VIDLER born Brenzett, Romney Marsh, who as a single man in the 1881 census was employed by William AIRD, Innkeeper at the Valiant Sailor and farmer of 175 acres, as a milkman.

By 1882 he had married and he was described as a milkman on both his marriage certificate and again on the birth certificate of his daughter Lilian, the following year. On the census record his surname is erroneously transcribed as DIDLER.

By 1890, the VIDLER family were living at Sandgate, Folkestone, where Charles was by now, employed by a man named KEELER as a carrier when in October of that year whilst engaged in collecting rocks from the beach at Sandgate with his horse and cart, he sadly was found drowned at the waters edge early one morning, apparently the victim of an accident.

Lilian Lizzie VIDLER was eventually to marry my grandfather Walter NICOLL at Elham in 1903, where he was employed as a groom at the East Kent Hunt kennels at Elham where his father William NICOLL was huntsman. since 1897. and when the mastership of the hunt changed in 1900, to Harry SELBY-LOWNDES, William NICOLL was to become 1st Whipper in, as the master took it upon himself to be the huntsman too and carried the horn. I mention these subsequent events as during the 30 or so years tenure of H SELBY-LOWNDES at the East Kent, he apparently instituted a tradition of a hunt meet at the Warren, Capel le Ferne, each Easter Monday, when around 2000 people would travel to see the huntsmen, members and hounds. The old photo you have published appears to have at least a couple of what look like fox hunters in the background, and I wondered if you could give a better idea of the circa this was taken and if indeed it was an occasion of a hunt meet there.

Thank you also for the more recent photographs of my grandmothers birthplace.

I live in retirement in France but will be visiting Kent in November and in particular The Valiant Sailor during this time, but if you can tell me if any other old photographs of the Valiant Sailor exist from around 1880 into the 20th century, and if so, and how and who I could contact regarding gaining sight of such copies. I should be most grateful.

Yours Faithfully Ian William NICOLL.


Read follow up story at "Castle Inn," Folkestone.


From the Dover Express, 20 November 2014.

A most wonderful time of the year.

Why Christmas Day in your local is magical. By John Townsend, landlord of the Valiant Sailor in Capel.

Valiant Sailor 2014 John Townsend

CHRISTMAS is always a special time for family and friends sharing good food and drink.

Running a pub you get to celebrate this wonderful time of the year with your customers.

Some pop by for a drink while the dinner is cooking, others like having their Christmas dinner cooked by someone else so they can relax and enjoy it.

A pub’s atmosphere on this day particularly is so warm and it’s great to see everyone happy. It just feels like home.

This is our first year in the Valiant Sailor and we are opening for drinks on Christmas Day at noon for three hours.

So if you want to come by we’ll have a log fire burning.

Next Christmas we hope to be cooking the Christmas dinner too!


From the Dover Express, 26 March 2015.

CELEBRATE the start of spring at this lovely pub.

Valiant Sailor 2015

VALIANT: The Valiant Sailor in Capel.

Easter is a week away and that long bank holiday weekend will soon be here.

THE evenings are getting lighter, the weather is turning brighter and the grass is getting greener - surely that means we have made it to spring!

Here at the Valiant Sailor in Capel-Le Ferne, we have it all on offer this Easter, whether the weather turns out to be lovely and sunny or if it’s raining and windy. We have a lovely beer garden which also offers a children’s play area, meaning you can come and enjoy a drink with friends and let the kids have some fun at the same time.

We also now offer traditional home-cooked food complete with children’s menu all at 4.85, which you can enjoy in our restaurant area, or in the pub area for a more relaxed atmosphere. Be sure to book to avoid disappointment as we can fill up quickly - especially on a Sunday for our roasts.

Valiant Sailor insdie 2015

After spending most of the winter tucked up at home, make sure you make the most of your bank holiday weekend and come and see us for a drink, lunch or dinner.

■ Book your table with John or Mike on 01303 621737.


From the By Victoria Chessum, 14 July 2015.

Man dies after falling down World War Two bunker in Capel-le-Ferne.

A man who fell 15ft down a World War Two bunker has died from his injuries.

It happened on Thursday before 1pm when the man was walking on cliff tops near Capel-le-Ferne.

He was airlifted to a London hospital with serious head injuries, but died on Saturday.

A spokesman for South East Coast Ambulance Service said: “We attended near the Valiant Sailor pub in New Dover Road.

“A man suffered a fall into a hole. A technical rescue was needed so fire were on the scene and so were coastguard.”

Several ambulance vehicles were sent to the scene with two ambulances, two cars and Secamb’s Hazardous Area Response Team.


From the By John Leonidou, 5 April 2019.

Campervan and motorhome holidays at The Valiant Sailor in Capel-le-Ferne Kent.

Easter is traditionally seen as the start of holiday getaways across the UK and those seeking a campervan or motorhome holiday in Kent should head to The Valiant Sailor.

Kent is a popular attraction for many visitors seeking a local break as they can take in the tranquility of the Kent Downs, see the historic streets of Canterbury or visit the impressive White Cliffs of Dover.

In fact, holidaymakers in motorhomes or campervans planning a trip down to East Kent during the Easter break should pencil in a stay or stopover at The Valiant Sailor in the quaint village of Capel le Ferne.

Those seeking some interesting campervan and motorhome spots in Kent should look into The Valiant Sailor according to the historic pub owner Emma Lowe.

Dating back to 1782, The Valiant Sailor is a cosy dog-friendly and family-friendly country pub that also offers a large car park for motorhomes.

Situated on the North Downs Way and England Coast Path, the pub is known hotspot for ramblers and walking groups.

The pub is perched in White Cliffs Country at the top of Dover Hill on the outskirts of the picturesque and historical village of Capel-le-Ferne.

“We can also accommodate up to four motorhomes each night although it’s best to book in advance,” said Emma Lowe who owns The Valiant Sailor.

“We don’t actually charge for overnight parking and all we ask in return is that the motorhome guests eat and drink at our pub for each night they are staying.”

It’s noteworthy tradeoff.

Valianr Sailor inside 2019

The pub’s kitchen is open for lunch and dinner with its home-cooked meals - made from local produce - and great roasts every Sunday.

The Valiant Sailor is rich in history and has witnessed, experienced and endured its fair share of landmark events and horror.

The pub’s kitchen is open for lunch and dinner with its home-cooked meals - made from local produce - and great roasts every Sunday earning it a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence for 2017 and 2018.

There is also an array of keg, cask and craft beers as well as a selection of fine wines, spirits and soft drinks.

“Visitors will really enjoy our large beer garden that has a children's play area and a covered smoking area,” added Emma.

“The Valiant Sailor has something for everyone and everybody is welcome!”

The Valiant Sailor is located on the B2011, next to the Battle of Britain Memorial and halfway between Eurotunnel and the Port of Dover. For more information about the pub, visit the official website here.



BURY George 1841+ (age 59 in 1841Census)

KITHAM Richard 1845-May/78 dec'd (age 38 in 1851Census) Melville's 1858Post Office Directory 1862Post Office Directory 1874

AIRD William 1881-Apr/1915 dec'd (also farmer age 37 in 1881Census) Dover ExpressPost Office Directory 1882Post Office Directory 1891Kelly's 1899Post Office Directory 1903Post Office Directory 1913

AIRD Alfred Charles Apr/1915-38+ Post Office Directory 1922Kelly's 1934Post Office Directory 1938 the Aird's reputed to have been there for 68 years. That makes them till 1949.

RAMSFORD Flora 1972+

KNIGHT John 1976+

LEWIS D Mr 1999+

HEARNE Steve 2007+

JACKSON Dennis 2011+

CROSS Matt ???? Next pub licensee had

Last pub licensee had TOWNSEND John & Michael (son) 3/Oct/2014+

LOWE Emma 2019+


Melville's 1858From Melville's Directory 1858

Post Office Directory 1862From the Post Office Directory 1862

Post Office Directory 1874From the Post Office Directory 1874

Post Office Directory 1882From the Post Office Directory 1882

Post Office Directory 1891From the Post Office Directory 1891

Kelly's 1899From the Kelly's Directory 1899

Post Office Directory 1903From the Post Office Directory 1903

Post Office Directory 1922From the Post Office Directory 1922

Kelly's 1934From the Kelly's Directory 1934

Post Office Directory 1938From the Post Office Directory 1938

Dover ExpressFrom the Dover Express



If anyone should have any further information, or indeed any pictures or photographs of the above licensed premises, please email:-